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Center for Health Policy Continues Research and Service on Healthcare Providers in Rural Areas

Ed Baker, director of the Center for Health Policy, was recently elected the 2014 president of the Idaho Rural Health Association (IRHA). Baker’s research and work with Idaho rural communities on workforce issues will contribute to his efforts at the IRHA. Baker has been involved with the IRHA for several years and has served as the treasurer since 2010.

Baker continues to research and present on the center’s most popular tool, the Community Apgar Program (CAP). Community factors play a key role in the recruitment and retention of physicians to rural and underserved healthcare settings. The CAP, developed by researchers, educators and clinicians at Boise State University and the Family Medicine Residency of Idaho helps to organize these community factors for action.

The goals of the CAP are to:

  1. Identify individual community strengths and unique opportunities for improvement in Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) and Community Health Centers (CHCs) ability to recruit and retain physicians.
  2. Understand state or regional patterns impacting physician supply which can be addressed at the macro level.
  3. Create a shared national database to facilitate broader understanding of important issues related to physician recruitment and retention to rural and underserved areas.

Along with Dave Schmitz, affiliate faculty and senior researcher at the Center for Health Policy and associate director of Rural Family Medicine at the Family Medicine Residency of Idaho, Baker presented twice about the research the center has done on recruitment and retention of rural physicians. The duo presented “Idaho’s Rural Family Physician Workforce: A Five Year Perspective” at the Idaho Hospital Association Annual Conference in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and “The Community Apgar Project: A Tool for Improving Rural Communities’ Physician Recruitment” at the Colorado Rural Health Center/State Office of Rural Health 22nd Annual Rural Health Conference in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Additionally, Baker and Schmitz recently renewed the Idaho Community Apgar Program Project for 2013-2015 with sponsor U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration. The two will serve as principal investigators.